Sail Me Away Home

Scholastic. (Show Me A Sign: Bk. 3). Nov. 2023. 304p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338742503.
Gr 3-7–In this third installment in the series, Mary is a deaf teacher of other deaf young people in her town of Chilmark on Martha’s Vineyard. Although she is comfortable in this community where many residents are deaf and using sign language is common, she feels a restless desire to do something great with her life. When given the opportunity to travel with missionaries to England and France, Mary is eager to see the land of her ancestors and the Parisian school for the deaf that is becoming famous for its progressive teaching methods. Although she is reluctant to travel with missionaries (who habitually ignore her and whose interests often threaten the Wampanoag and other Native communities), she knows this is her only chance to learn how to set up a school that will treat the deaf and speechless with dignity. The passage to Europe is arduous, and the school in England disappointing; in France, Mary meets the leaders of deaf education, Jean Massieu and Laurent Clerc, and she comes to appreciate the development of the sign language that she has used all her life. There is the opportunity for a continuation, as the book ends with Mary envisioning returning to New England to share all she has learned. Frequent references to previous volumes can be confusing to those who have not read the series. Lezotte based Mary’s experiences and her community on facts, and offers a rich explanation of the development of sign language and education of the d/Deaf, so that readers have an opportunity to learn about a vibrant population that has often been neglected and overlooked.
VERDICT Exciting, heartrending and informative, this volume is a strong addition to the series.

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